Decarbonisation Technology - November 2023 Issue

Figure 2 The world's first commercial-scale methane pyrolysis plant

Courtesy: Monolith

hydrogen is the pyrolysis of methane to produce hydrogen and solid carbon (char). Compared with SMR with CCUS, the methane pyrolysis process has a major advantage: the carbon produced is in the elemental solid form. As the methane pyrolysis process does not produce CO 2, it avoids the need for carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure. Compared with water electrolysis, the methane pyrolysis process does not need renewable electricity or water as a feedstock. Currently, methane pyrolysis is at a lower technology maturity level than electrolysis or SMR with CCUS. Development is focused on improving the reliability of the pyrolysis process and attaining economy of scale operations. Several companies are commercialising methane pyrolysis technology, moving from the pilot plant (200kg H₂ per day) and demonstration unit levels (200kg H₂ per day) through to the first commercial-scale plants (>5kt p.a. H₂) (see Figure 2 )(Monolith, 2021) (BASF, 2023), (Ekona, 2023), (Monolith hydrogen, 2023). The methane source can be in the form of conventional natural gas or as bio-methane from anaerobic digestion of manure and other forms of biomass waste. The hydrogen so

SMRs are being revamped to add carbon capture equipment. The captured carbon can then be used for the synthesis of chemicals or fuels or sent to certified sites for sequestration and permanent storage, thus avoiding emissions to the atmosphere. This requires additional facilities with the consequential investment for the management of the CO₂. Hydrogen produced using fossil fuel feed to an SMR with carbon capture is termed ‘blue hydrogen’. Critical challenges developing green hydrogen technologies include the development of cost- effective and efficient electrolysers and building the necessary infrastructure for handling, storage, and distribution of hydrogen. The Green Hydrogen Catapult (GHC), formed in 2020, is a coalition of industry leaders organised with the support of the UN High Level Champions for Global Climate Action. The GHC has targeted the deployment of 25 GW electrolysers with the aim of reducing the cost of green hydrogen below $2/kg, which will allow the clean fuel to be cost-effective in the short term (Climate Champions, 2030). Pyrolysis technologies for methane An emerging technology for generating clean


Powered by